THE 1997 NME SINGLE OF THE YEAR (Recorded in 1965!)

I’m a long way removed from being a fan of The Verve or Richard Ashcroft, but I am willing to admit the song that brought them/him to the attention of the wider public is absolute class:-

mp3 : The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (radio edit)

Only thing is….. that according to the info within the CD single sitting on my shelf, it was actually performed by The Andrew Oldham Orchestra and written solely by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

The story is quite infamous now. I’ll simply lift from wiki:-

The opening strings are sampled from the 1965 Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time”, arranged and written by David Whitaker. The Verve negotiated rights to use a six-note sample from the recording from the recording’s copyright holder Decca Records; however, they did not obtain permission from former Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein, who owned the copyrights to the band’s pre-1970 songs, including “The Last Time”. Although “Bitter Sweet Symphony” had already been released, Klein refused to grant a license for the sample. This led to a lawsuit with ABKCO Records, Klein’s holding company, which was settled out of court. The Verve relinquished all royalties to Klein, and the songwriting credits were changed to Jagger/Richards, with Ashcroft receiving $1,000 for completely relinquishing rights.

Verve bassist Simon Jones said, “We were told it was going to be a 50/50 split, and then they saw how well the record was doing. They rung up and said we want 100 percent or take it out of the shops, you don’t have much choice.” Ashcroft sarcastically said, “This is the best song Jagger and Richards have written in 20 years”, noting it was their biggest UK hit since “Brown Sugar”.

In a 1999 interview with Q, asked whether he believed the result was fair, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said: “I’m out of whack here, this is serious lawyer shit. If the Verve can write a better song, they can keep the money.”

In 1999, Andrew Oldham sued for royalties after failing to receive the mechanical royalties he claimed he was owed. After receiving his royalties, Oldham joked that he bought “a pretty presentable watch strap” compared to the watch Jagger and Richards would get with the money. In an interview with Uncut, he said: “As for Richard Ashcroft, well, I don’t know how an artist can be severely damaged by that experience. Songwriters have learned to call songs their children, and he thinks he wrote something. He didn’t. I hope he’s got over it. It takes a while.”

In May 2019, Ashcroft received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. Ashcroft announced that the dispute was over following negotiations with Klein’s son, Jody, and the Rolling Stones’ manager Joyce Smith.  He said: “As of last month, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for Bittersweet Symphony, which was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do. I never had a personal beef with the Stones. They’ve always been the greatest rock and roll band in the world. It’s been a fantastic development. It’s life-affirming in a way.

So how much plagarism was involved?

mp3 : Andrew Oldham Orchestra – The Last Time

OK, I’m no musician and I can’t quite understand how it went the way it did.  Yup, there was a sample.  Yup, there was an error in not getting Klein on board. Yup, the song ended up being more successful than was likely imagined.  But there is no way that it could ever be seen as solely a Jagger/Richard composition. I’m also baffled as to why none of the five members of The Verve, named on the front of the sleeve and who obviously played on the track, aren’t entitled to any credit.

Things were just as ridiculous when The Verve included a remix version of the song as a track on the CD2 single of The Drugs Don’t Work:-

mp3 : The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (James Lavelle Remix)

The same credits in terms of composing and performing were detailed, with the following additions:-

Vocals by Richard Ashcroft
Lyrics by Richard Ashcroft
Additional strings conducted and arranged by Wil Malone
Remixed by James Lavelle for U.N.C.L.E Productions

How magnanimous of them…..



The Shoebox of Delights – Lucy Pittman Picked Number 25
All In The Mind – The Verve


This is a true story, it sees the return of Our Price Girl, who dumped me for daring to diss Carl Puttnam the singer in Cud, and it also features the band Dodgy. Stop…Come Back. Its doesn’t feature their music, just them.

My first ever gig as a music lover was Neds Atomic Dustbin at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. I went with Chris (him of the Dubstar argument) and a chap called Geoff, who was an idiot. We got there early, largely because Geoff’s dad dropped up down there at about 4pm because he had to get back and pick his mum up (the only reason we asked Geoff is because we knew his Dad would ferry us about all over the shop). It being some three hours before the doors opened, we decided to hit the arcades in the town, grab a burger and try our luck with the locals girls, we were all (nearly) 16 – had £20 in our pockets and frankly, the world was our oyster. We forgot that it was Folkestone, a Wednesday afternoon, late February and absolutely freezing.

In one arcade on seafront, there was an old school Space Invaders Game, I was quite good at this and decided to put 50p in and see if I could beat the highest score (turns out the high score was about 70 as the machine had only been switched on for about 15 minutes) so off I went. About ten minutes in to the game a bloke with a hat asked if he could join it on the two player option. I let him, he was really good at Space Invaders, I mean, brilliant at it.

This ladies and gents was Nigel, the singer in Dodgy. I found this after the game, when he bought me a Coke. We had a chat and basically he told me what he was doing in the craphole that was Folkestone (now days Folkestone is a lovely place, home to Fruitbat from Carter USM, amongst other rock royalty) he was supporting Neds Atomic Dustbin. About two hours later I found Geoff and Chris again hiding behind some trees in a park, both having been ‘chased along the beach by Townies’ – they never explained why this had happened.

Anyway, we ambled along to the gig, and there was a massive queue, at 6.45pm – we grumbled and wandered to the back of the queue, halfway along a voice called out to me, It was Nigel – he got us in quickly as part of his road crew. I was (nearly) 16 and already a roadie for Dodgy, did life get any better than this? (yes, as it happens, much better, but that is another story…)

The gig was insignificant, I spent most of it near the bar drinking Newcastle Brown Ale, supplied to me by Nigel from Dodgy. I later threw up in Geoff’s Dad’s Volvo Estate (come on I was (nearly) 16 and had at least three bottles). I honestly don’t remember a single song that Neds played.

Now what relevance does this has to The Verve (or Verve as they were then), well let’s fast forward about 12 months or so. I am now (nearly) 17 and seriously interested in Our Price Girl, and most weekends I take my hard earned wages (serving people in a shop was hard work in the early 90s) and spend it on records and CDs in order to impress Our Price Girl. So it is Saturday, and I have just listened to the Gary Crowley show on GLR (where is he now?) and he played Worth the Blood by Dodgy and I decided that I should pop down to Our Price and buy that and tell Our Price Girl all about how I know Nigel from Dodgy (which I did, really well – having seen them twice since the Neds gig), if that didn’t get her phone number then nothing would (as it happened it didn’t work but buying the first Pavement album about three months later did).

So I rock up, find the Dodgy single, and pop it on the counter. She picks it up, ‘Really’ she said. Yeah, they are mates of mine I say, ‘Oh’. Our Price Girl is completely and utterly uninterested, I may as well have been speaking Slovakian, and it’s almost as if the singer from Dodgy is mates with everyone or is as important as your local postman. She turns round and lays another CD next to it. ‘This is better’ she said. It is All in the Mind by (The) Verve. I hadn’t heard of this, I vaguely remember the NME mentioning it in the last issue. So I am in a quandary, do I forego my rock star mates, Dodgy, for the recommendation of (the admittedly, hot) Our Price Girl?

I don’t think I even put the Dodgy single back in the rack, and I know for a fact that I never bought another Dodgy record in my life. She smiles at me as she puts the CD in the bag. I smile back, blushing like a fool, ‘You going to Club Orange tonight?’ she says. I have no idea what Club Orange is, ‘Yeah definitely’ I say. ‘See you there then’. ‘Yup’ I say. My mind is already racing and I spend the next five hours trying to find out what Club Orange is and where it is.

Did I make the right musical decision? Unquestionably. ‘All In the Mind’ is one of those debut singles that after one listen you knew that this would be a band that you would grow to love and love. Also for what its worth, ‘All in the Mind’ also houses the greatest B Side ever recorded Man Called Sun. A record that should have been the lead track and a track that Dodgy would have killed for.

mp3 : Verve – All In The Mind
mp3 : Verve – One Way To Go
mp3 : Verve – A Man Called Sun

Did I make it Club Orange? No I didn’t, not that night anyway. That took another six weeks.

Oh just because I’m feeling generous – here are two more great Verve B Sides.

mp3 : Verve – Monkey Magic (Brainstorm Mix)
mp3 : Verve – Let The Damage Begin

So let’s have some more numbers then folks….

JC adds……

I want #17. I actually wanted #18 but it has already gone. So its #17 next week or nothing!!!